New York, NY (May 17, 2017) – The HOPE Program (HOPE), a highly effective nonprofit which empowers New Yorkers to build brighter futures through training, jobs and career advancement, hosted its 6th annual “A Taste of HOPE” fundraiser on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 6:00pm at The Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. This sold-out event raised nearly $450,000 in support for HOPE's programs and attracted upwards of 400 people from food purveyors to HOPE corporate supporters and non-profit partners. Billed as an evening of “Tastes, Toasts and Transformations,” this event is the organization’s signature fundraiser.
This year’s event honored Macquarie Group and its Head of Asset Management, Shemara Wikramanayake, who also serves as Chair of Macquarie Group Foundation, for the firm’s longstanding and strong partnership with HOPE. Ms. Wikramanayke, who has been with Macquarie Group for 30 years, has been a champion for the organization through her leadership of the Macquarie Group Foundation.
“We are grateful for our partnership with Macquarie Group and the Foundation. Their efforts have been far and wide, and always impactful. From mock interviews to internships to providing professional clothing for our students attending job interviews, Macquarie’s support has contributed to HOPE’s strong job placement and retention results,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program. “A Taste of HOPE” gives us an opportunity to celebrate our success and share stories from students, graduates, partners and staff that embody our mission and impact our community.”
Macquarie Group and Ms. Wikramanayke added, “The Macquarie Group Foundation is proud to be a long standing supporter of The HOPE Program and their work to empower New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and career advancement.”
Barbara Lupo was also honored with HOPE’s prestigious Founder’s Award for her 20 years of service.
This year’s Hero for HOPE sponsors include Sidley Austin LLP, Stradley Ronon, financial communications firm Prosek Partners, and many others. The Sustainable Supporter sponsors this year include Nancy & Anthony Bowe, Kirk Palmer Associates, Gabrielle Levin & Keith Gross, Tactix Real Estate Advisors, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and additional partners.
The evening promises delectable tastes and toasts from 20-plus local bakeries, caterers, restaurants and other food and beverage companies. All of these partners are dedicated to HOPE’s mission of providing hardworking New Yorkers with opportunities to secure meaningful work. This year’s vendor roster includes Bonbite, Bronx Beer Hall, Brooklyn Bangers, Brooklyn Brine, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, Butterbeans, Catskill Provisions, Chelsea Market Baskets, Empanology, Evelyn’s Kitchen, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, GuS, Il Forno Bakery, Indiana Market & Catering, Lavo, Li-Lac Chocolates, Magnolia Bakery, Melt, Mike’s Deli, Neuman’s Kitchen, Russ & Daughters, The Vine Collective and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Many of these event participants, such as Neuman’s Kitchen, also employ numerous HOPE students and graduates after they complete HOPE’s innovative FOODworks program, launched in 2010, which prepares jobseekers with skills needed for careers in the burgeoning food industry. In addition, The HOPE Program offers curriculum to prepare New Yorkers for various industries from green construction and maintenance to office/clerical, retail and others.
The organization will also be celebrating its first full successful year of its integration as the parent organization of Sustainable South Bronx, which has expanded HOPE’s impact by 50% to 450 individuals served, and has enabled HOPE’s expansion to the green jobs sector.
HOPE continues to be recognized, both locally and nationally, for its distinguished work in the New York City community. HOPE maintains some of the strongest job placement and job retention results in the field at 73% and 75%, respectively. In 2016, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC selected HOPE to join the Connections to Care Partnership, one of only 15 nonprofits citywide. Also in 2016, HOPE was selected as a semifinalist for the prestigious New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
Nearly 95 percent of event proceeds will be invested directly into The HOPE Program.